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Japanese Idioms





The Japanese language is filled with idioms of all sorts, from classical references from ancient Chinese to modern colloquialisms used by college students and young salaryman. Whether you are traveling to Japan for fun or on business, or are living there, you'll find idioms indispensible to understanding and using the daily language. Browse below to find the ones you want or simply explore the many possible ways to express yourself in Japanese.



方向音痴
[ほうこうおんち, houkou onchi] having no sense of direction

傍若無人
[ぼうじゃくぶじん, boujaku bujin] arrogant, outrageous; audacious

ぽつりぽつり
[ぽつりぽつり, potsuri potsuri] bit by bit; little by little

骨おしみ
[ほねおしみ, hone-oshimi] lazy, sloth, indolent

骨折り
[ほねおり, hone-ori] exertion, labor; service

骨川筋衣文
[ほねかわすじえもん, honekawasujiemon] a person who is skin and bones (n.b.: this sounds like a person’s name)

骨なし男
[ほねなしおとこ, hone-nashi-otoko] spineless person

骨になる
[ほねになる, hone ni naru] die

骨抜き
[ほねぬき, hone-nuki] coward; spineless

骨のある男
[ほねのあるおとこ, hone no aru otoko] a man of spirit

骨休み
[ほねやすみ, hone-yasumi] rest, relaxation

本気
[ほんき, honki] earnest, serious, intent on

本当のことを言ったら
[ほんとうのことをいったら, hontou no koto o ittara] tell the truth

本の虫
[ほんのむし, hon no mushi] bookworm


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